Burlington leaders utilizing one enterprise’ closing as motivation to carry extra guests downtown

BURLINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — A Burlington enterprise has closed its doorways, and metropolis leaders are utilizing it as motivation to seek out new methods to carry folks downtown.

Domestically-owned outlets make up the guts of the realm. However they’ll’t survive with out clients.

“You may stroll round,” mentioned Emily Lewis, who owns a number of buildings in downtown Burlington. “There are murals downtown. There’s a sculpture downtown. Every part is right here that you might want to make your retailer entrance and middle.”

Lewis believes downtown Burlington has nearly all the things a enterprise proprietor must be profitable. Every part besides the shoppers.

“One of many struggles we’ve downtown is simply getting folks to alter their routines,” she mentioned. “Getting them to take a seat again and assume ‘what’s one thing totally different that I can do? What is a few new place in my very own county I can discover?’”

That lack of curiosity pressured Lewis and her husband Casey to completely shut their grocery retailer and meals counter, Carolina Sundries, after lower than 5 months.

“We actually have been hoping that it might be an added worth and supply a variety of expertise for downtown,” Lewis mentioned.

Boarded-up home windows and closed indicators cowl doorways at a number of downtown outlets. In case you go one block over, it’s a totally totally different story.

“East Entrance Avenue in downtown Burlington is doing properly,” Lewis mentioned. “We’ve a number of companies alongside there, a number of eating places and issues to do.”

The world’s grid structure poses a problem. The Lewises have tried to liven up different elements of downtown, buying three buildings on South Spring Avenue and opening an artwork gallery.

“Our intent is to construct this block,” Lewis mentioned. “To make one other connection within the downtown, so we will sort of bridge these areas collectively to make finally a pleasant well-rounded downtown.”

Downtown Burlington Company is brainstorming new concepts to draw guests. That features a free shuttle service to take folks to and from downtown to the Sock Puppets baseball video games.

“Taking that shuttle and perhaps having dinner earlier than you go or drinks earlier than you go or drinks whenever you get again,” mentioned Erin Nettles, the company’s supervisor.

The group has doubled the variety of exhibits on the Paramount Theater this yr. Lengthy-term, the theater will get a $4.5 million growth. All that is an effort to maintain companies open and folks wanting to return and discover.

“I don’t assume folks understand how a lot is altering downtown,” Lewis mentioned. “There are a number of new little issues popping up that make our county much more attention-grabbing. It’s simply you must take an curiosity.”

The Downtown Burlington Company is engaged on a brand new initiative to focus on individuals who don’t usually make a visit to downtown Burlington. Leaders plan to roll that out later this summer season.

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